Hawke's Bay run rampant over Manawatu

Getty Images

Friday, October 5, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

With a semi-final berth already wrapped up, the win boosted Hawke's Bay's hopes of a home semifinal and extended their run of home wins over Manawatu since 1955.

Up 24-17, having had to come from a 0-14 deficit when Manawatu made a superb start to the game, Hawke's Bay made the most of a the inside back combination of halfback Brad Weber and raw first five-eighths Lincoln McClutchie.
Fed into space by his half, McClutchie cut through and with centre Stacey Ili on hand the ball was recycled and skipper and flanker Gareth Evans threw a long ball wide where fullback Jamie Jerry Taulagi made no mistake to run in the try.

Manawatu threw caution to the wind after the restart but a Hamish Northcott pass to his outsides was picked off by Bay wing Jonah Lowe and with no-one between him and the goalposts 80m distant he made no race of it to take Hawke's Bay out to a 38-17 lead.

Replacement wing Michael Buckley showed the value of kick and chase when running down Manawatu wing Junior Laloifi, taking the ball off him and setting up the ruck which allowed Hawke's Bay to build position and when the ball came back across field it was Buckley who took a lovely pass from Taulagi to drop over the line for the try.

It was a result that seemed unlikely after the lightning-like start Manawatu made.

All Blacks second five-eighths Ngani Laumape had an instant effect for Manawatu, when after the opening skirmishes, in which Manawatu put together eight phases before the ball was set free to the backs, Laumape slipped a short pass which put centre Rob Thompson into a gap. He beat off tacklers in making ground and found lock Brad Tucker in support to run in the try.

First five-eighths Otere Black also had a significant impact in the early stages, unleashing raking line kicks, one of which allowed him to kick into the in-goal area where fullback Sam Malcolm looked to have one the race to the touch down, but a TMO check revealed he had knocked the ball on in the grounding process.

They were playing a penalty advantage, so Manawatu took the lineout option and mounted a series of forward drives, 12 of them, at the line before prop Michael Alaalatoa went through the middle of the ruck to score.

Hawke's Bay finally responded when Taulagi unleashed a scything run, got tackled and back to his feet and then found Weber and he had second five-eighths Pasqualle Dunn outside to score.

Finding more time in Manawatu territory, Hawke's Bay were driven back from one attempted mauling drive but a penalty was conceded and at the second attempt the effort was better synchronised with hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes showing impressive skill to wait his chance to score.

Then five minutes later, a storming run by prop Ben May deep into the 22m area provided the impetus for more driving play at the line and it was lock Tom Parsons who got a fraction of the ball on the white line to score.

Hawke's Bay's big loose forwards, Geoff Cridge and Marino Mikaele Tu'u began to work with Evans in applying pressure all over the park. Tu'u unleashed a powerful run four minutes into the second half, fending off his marker Brice Anderson with ease and setting up more driving rucks on the line before prop Mark Braidwood picked up the ball and dived through the middle to score.

Scorers: Hawke's Bay 45 (Pasqualle Dunn, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Tom Parsons, Mark Braidwood, Jamie Jerry Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Michael Buckley tries; Taulagi 5 con ) Manawatu 17 (Brad Tucker, Michael Alaalatoa tries; Otere Black 2 con). HT: 17-17